I’ve heard every conceivable combination of titles and explanations that dance around the inevitable conclusion that a person is SELLING something. Give me a title, a business, any role, and I can tell you what they are selling:
- HR Director—Sells employee buy in, job satisfaction, order and processes
- Nail Artist—Sells unique self expression, personal style and confidence
- Venue Owner—Sells experiences, memories, exclusive access
Apparently, many Sales “professionals” have historically done such a crappy job at creating positive experiences that not many people want to be viewed or claim that they are a sales person. Combine that with a biological and instinctive fear of rejection and there is a whole lot of angst to owning the title “Sales”.
You may have heard the term “Everyone is in Sales” and it is 100% truth—we all have to sell our skills, our ideas, our expertise, and capabilities—as well as our products or services. Resistance is not only futile, it’s financially detrimental when you make “Sales” an afterthought in your business.
So how is it that Selling isn’t clearly the priority when we build a business? Below is an excerpt from international speaker, author and sales leader, Anthony Iannarino. He posts daily sales insights to his site, The Sales Blog and this topic was fresh on my mind after a networking lunch last week where I met a handful of business owners who really didn’t “Know” what business they were in based on their descriptions of “what they do”—which missed selling the benefits and results of why and how they “do” their business.
From Anthony’s blog—Stop resisting the fact that you are a sales organization:
It is important to think about how you think about your business. The results you produce—or fail to produce—stem from how you think about what it is that you do.
When asked what you do, you might say, “We are in the distribution services business,” or “We are in the legal services business.” You might say, “I am a financial advisor.” All of these statements are partially true, but believing that these statements are true as written above leads to poor sales results. Let me explain.
You are not
- A distribution services business; you are a sales organization that happens to sell distribution services.
- You are not in the legal services business; you are a sales organization that happens to provide legal services.
- If you are a financial advisor, even if you are a solopreneur, you are a sales organization of one, one that happens to provide financial advice and the accompanying vehicles.
The Consequences of Your Beliefs
Too many businesses, large and small, produce poor sales results because they don’t believe and behave as if they are a sales organization. They believe that they are “a distribution services business” that happens to have to sell from time to time. Sales is an afterthought. Time, money, and energy find their way into anything but sales.
There are some sales organizations that have strong feelings about the word sales. They feel that it somehow discounts the value they create for their clients. They believe that the word “sales” carries too much baggage, that the connotations are too negative. So they avoid the word, and the avoid taking on the identity of a sales organization.
The consequences of getting the order of your beliefs wrong are poor sales results, too few opportunities, and a business that isn’t realizing its full potential.
You are free to believe whatever you want to believe, but you are not free from the consequences of those beliefs.
Reversing the Order
If you were a sales organization first, then new client acquisition and new order acquisition would be a priority. It would be easy for people to recognize that you were a sales organization because your words, your actions, your time, your energy, and your focus would be sales.
If you were a sales organization first, your business would be growing, and it would be growing faster. Your business would think and act like a sales organization.
If you believed that you were a sales organization the work that you do to create new opportunities would happen first every day. You would never postpone sales and marketing simply because you have to execute for your clients. If you can only sell after you do the work of executing for your clients, then sales will always be crowded out. And you will always be hungry.
Resistance to this idea is not an effective strategy. Avoidance of the truth in this idea isn’t a good strategy either. Like gravity, this truth is rather strong and extremely persistent.
So, how do you define your business now that you fully realize You ARE in Sales?
How can you start changing the way you view what you do in terms of what results you are selling?
How would this change your priorities to make selling those results the foundation of your organization?
What would change in where you invest your time and resources?
Let us know in the comments below.
Until next time, keep kickin’ butt!